Young woman looking at birthmark on her back, skin. Checking benign moles. Skin tags removal
Image: Shutterstock/Albina Glisic

5 Ways To Safely Get Rid Of Skin Tags

You’re applying lotion and you feel the smallest bit of flesh sticking out. You look and, ugh, skin tag. Probably not the most painful or unsightly skin problem out there, but still pretty annoying. Now all you can think about is just getting a nail clipper and ripping the sucker right out, figuring sometimes beauty requires pain. Resist the urge because you can end up risking infection and scarring that way. Below are ways to safely get rid of skin tags.

Tea Tree Oil

One way is to dry the annoying little tag out. A topical application like tea tree oil, when applied three times per day, can dry out the skin tag and cause it to eventually fall off after several weeks. The trick is to soak a cotton ball or Q-tip and hold it on the skin tag for several minutes to really make sure you’re drying it out. As a side note, apple cider vinegar can work, as well.

The problem with this method is that it’s not very convenient if the skin tag is in a hard-to-reach spot. You also have to be careful to not dry out the tissue around the skin tag, and never use this method on the eyelid. If the tag is still there after one month, move on to other methods.

The Floss Method

Another option is to get rid of the skin tag’s blood supply, which is also what can make it fall off. Simply tie the floss tightly around the base of the skin tag, and leave the string attached. The skin tag should fall off in a week. This is a good option if the skin tag is in a hard-to-reach spot (you’ll only need assistance once), or you’re squeamish about cutting it off. Which take us to our next point.

Cut It Off

It is possible to cut skin tags off at home. You’ll need to cleanse the area very well. Then with thin, sterile scissors, snip the base of the skin tag as close to the skin’s surface as you can get (you may need to hold the skin tag up with tweezers). You’ll immediately need to press a cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol to the spot to control blood flow and sterilize the area. After a minute or so, apply a bandage with some triple antibiotic cream to the spot to reduce the risk of scarring. It’s not a comfortable way of doing it, but it is the quickest method.

Commercial Kits

Another option is to get a wart or mole remover, which can often make skin tags fall off after a few weeks with daily application. There are also skin tag removers on the market like Naturasil For Skin Tags, which can take up to 6 weeks to work with daily use. Many people see varying results with commercial removers. They may work for you, they may not.

When To Go To The Doctor

If you don’t want to wait and see if a topical treatment works, and you’re not a fan of cutting or tying your skin yourself, a trip to the doctor may be in order. Doctors can cut skin tags off in a completely sterile environment. They also sometimes freeze them off with liquid nitrogen or even burn them off. And this way, you can get the area anesthetized before beginning. It’s the best option if you are squeamish about it or if you have a lot of skin tags.